Space junk is a real problem for our planet. Most likely, most of it passes through the atmosphere of our planet, but is destroyed at that time and does not pose any danger. In the case of the Chinese Long March CZ-5B guided missile, the risk is real.
Officials have already warned of the risk of debris falling to Earth this weekend, with Portugal on track like the rest of Europe.
EASA - the European Aviation Safety Agency - issued a statement warning of the possibility of up to 9 tonnes of debris from a Chinese Long March CZ-5B rocket falling on European territory. The event will take place this weekend on July 30th and 31st.
Space debris that can fall "uncontrolled" in an area about 2000 kilometers long and about 70 kilometers wide.
Although there is no definitive route, Portugal, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Malta and Bulgaria may be affected, at least in their airspace. EASA says it can only be certain about the route until a few hours before the event.
The Long March CZ-5B was launched on July 24th and is estimated at 17 to 22 tons, with an expected 9 tons "one of the largest pieces of debris re-entered the atmosphere in recent years!" The region that can cross Earth's atmosphere is estimated to be 30 meters.
Part of this structure must disappear when passing through the atmosphere, however, 20 to 40% of the debris must reach land or even the ocean.
Between 20% and 40% of its mass reaches Earth, which is enough for many fragments to survive and rain down as debris over an area about 2000 kilometers long and 70 kilometers wide.
| According to EASA.
M May 2021, when debris from another Chinese rocket hit Earth, no urban areas were hit. Around that time, another Long March CZ-5B crashed in the Indian Ocean near the Maldives.